Solicitor and one-time political player Helen Chung Yee-fong's flat in Cox's Road, Tsim Sha Tsui is vast. So vast that her Filipino domestic helpers, Amie Camacho, 28, and Lenita Hernandez, 30, had plenty of room to practise a goofy dance routine to the amplified strains of Toreador's Song, from Bizet's Carmen. 'Hear the music now ... one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight,' commanded the toe-tapping Chung, an unsuccessful candidate in last year's Urban Council and Legislative Council elections, as she spun on a high heel and pranced in time to the verse she had pre-recorded for her maids to perform on Cable TV. Vote for the Lady Lawyer Helen Chung Willing to work, daring to talk She's the candidate of No.1 For Yau Ma Tei and Tsim Sha Tsui. Camacho and Hernandez committed the tune and the words to memory while humming over the dishes and dusting the reproduction antiques in Chung's 3,000-square-foot flat. Chung, a regular at the Hong Kong Academy of Dance, (owner Paul Bishop describes her as 'a very proficient dancer of Latin American and Ballroom social dances') couldn't see the maids' rolling eyes as she twirled across the rugs. When Camacho, who was also ordered to wear 'make-up, a nice dress and a Helen Chung poster' for the television special, recalls the rehearsals, she collapses into fits of giggles. 'We didn't expect Ma'am would teach us a dance routine, and show us how to march,' she said. 'It's funny now - but it was embarrassing. I don't want to be seen on TV doing this silly dance for her. I just want to be a maid.' This is the bizarre story of Chung, lies and audio-tapes. It is one of those tales that, when retold to friends, may be prefaced with 'it could only happen in Hong Kong'. We know it is true - because the maids, who were fed up with being treated like unpaid campaign aides by Chung, turned the tables on her. They did it with cunning and stealth, using a Walkman recorder and a tiny microphone hidden beneath the hem of Camacho's shirt, to secretly tape Chung in all her dictatorial glory. 'I wore the tape recorder on my waist, under my shirt,' explained Camacho. 'I got the idea from other domestic helpers. When Helen Chung was around, I pressed the Record button.' There were covertly-snapped photographs, too - of Camacho and Hernandez photocopying the names of voters, bundling posters, hanging billboards on busy street corners and generally pandering to Chung's failed bid for Legco. It is, of course, illegal to hire domestic helpers to do anything other than domestic duties. Maids cannot be turned into singing and dancing publicity stunt machines. Nor are maids permitted to become political fixers. So when they fled the flat the day before they were supposed to strut their stuff on Cable TV, they left a note saying 'We, Amie and Lenita, are leaving effective now September 9, 1995, 12 midnight because we cannot stand any longer to work for your Legco candidacy, as well as because of your late payment of my salaries as well as lack of food'. Chung's net was beginning to close. Although she didn't know it at the time, she was well and truly stitched up. After a 14-day hearing in the District Court ended last week - following evidence amounting to a tissue of deceit by Chung, and newspaper headlines including 'Judge takes swipe at lying lawyer' - she no doubt wished she had settled the matter of the maids' unpaid salaries quietly and privately. Chung, 46, who was admitted to practise as a solicitor in Hong Kong in 1990, went to great expense to hire barrister John McLanachan in the civil suit brought by her former maids. She called a number of witnesses, including herself and her new apparently content maid. Chung even took a statement from her eight-year-old daughter Joanne, who accuses Camacho of 'attempted murder' for pouring a bath that was too hot. All to no avail. Judge Andrew Chung (no relation) not only found in favour of the maids, who rocked the defence with their 'smoking gun' - the audio tape. He branded the 'lady lawyer' a deliberate liar and an unscrupulous witness, charged her with putting up an 'outrageous defence', scolded her for her 'overbearing personality', and described her actions as 'an affront to the court'. 'It is clear from the way she testified that she is a highly subjective person who very often allows her subjective thinking or wishes to overcome her judgment of observations,' the judge said. It was a scathing indictment. And Helen Chung Yee-fong, of Helen Chung and Co, Star House, Tsim Sha Tsui, is steaming over it. 'Unfortunately, my father has passed away. But if he was here, I'm sure he would shoot the judge with a shotgun,' she said, leaning forward in a black leather armchair. It is not the sort of comment one expects a solicitor to make to a reporter about a respected member of the Judiciary. But Chung, wearing a black mini, tights, fire-engine red high-heel shoes and handbag and a soiled white blouse, is warming to her theme. 'The judge is ignorant,' she fumed. 'I'm the most honest person who lives. I always say things frankly, no matter what. 'Would you like your maid to tape you without your knowledge? It's a totally criminal offence to tape someone without their permission. I can't believe it. 'My reputation has suffered. They said I'm a liar! Who will come to me? I'm sure my business will drop. 'The public comes to lawyers because they trust their integrity. This must be the worst thing that can happen, for a judge to call you a liar. 'It has only been since I became a political candidate that I got into trouble. 'Why? I don't know. I think it must be out of jealousy, or out of some future plan to prevent me being successful. I may be deterred from my political ambitions as a result of this.' It is certainly true that Chung has been in some strife since she began trying for political office. In December 1993, and again in 1994, she picked up the South China Morning Post's Prize for the Most Brown-nosing Christmas Card and Worst Card Award, respectively, for her festive greeting showing her warmly shaking hands with Zhang Junsheng, the deputy director of Xinhua (the New China News Agency. The Law Society took Chung's self-promotion more seriously - and fined her $50,000. Undaunted, Chung put three framed copies of the photo on shelves in her cramped office. They stand alongside pictures of her with Chief Justice Sir Ti-liang Yang, and her being crowned Miss Buckingham University, 1984. 'And you can see, here, I've got a double crown,' she said, indicating the tiara on her head in the photo. 'I crowned myself before I won with an antique crown, because I didn't think a Chinese could win. 'I said: 'Hong Kong is a paradise'. The crowd went crazy. I said: 'We in Hong Kong have the best of everything, not to mention the charm of the people'. The Vice Chancellor was Professor Peacock, who led the Peacock Commission.' One of three telephones on her desk rings. It is her counsel, who advises her not to speak out publicly because of a planned appeal that is pending. 'Well, I'd better get the reporter going and then call you back,' she told him. The interview continues another two hours. 'Before I had a very good memory,' she said. 'Now my memory is affected and I think I need to see a psychiatrist as well. In the middle of my trial, September 23, my good friend David Chan Yuk-cheung passed away. And if you come back tomorrow, I can show you when I played the part of a Chinese Empress in the Qing Dynasty at Harrods in 1984 ...' Chung was born in Hong Kong and brought up in Tsim Sha Tsui. Her biographical sheet for voters says she graduated from Good Hope School, Belilios Public School, St Paul's Convent School, University of Buckingham and University of Hong Kong. 'I started as a student nurse at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, then worked in commerce and industry before becoming a lawyer,' she added. 'My ex-husband [Dr Raymond Wong Che-wai] was a medical doctor, a surgeon. When I divorced him in 1981, the legal costs to me were more than $1 million - and the case is still not finished. I didn't know why it could be so expensive. That's why I went to England to read law, to find out.' Contacted in his Central surgery, Dr Wong confirmed they were once married, and that 'negotiations are continuing'. 'This is typical of her,' he sighed. Chung has three children, two of whom are studying in Britain. 'My son is doing law and my daughter, actuarial science. An actuary is a good profession.' Although she has not remarried, she describes Ted Tyler, a former district court judge who now heads a judicial think-tank at City University, as her husband. 'I will leave him out of it,' she said. 'He does not want to get himself embarrassed. 'Ted is a very calm, peaceful person. I want to fight for my principles. He supports me in this, but he was a former judge before and he does not want to get himself embarrassed on the witness stand. Like me. I'm a solicitor - and I was embarrassed. I was called a liar! 'Friends are very concerned about me. They take me out for dinner and try to comfort me. After reading the papers, they trust that I'm a very honest person. 'People from Xinhua respect me. They know I love my country. This lawsuit is political, probably because I'm too pro-China. Of course, I will appeal ... for the sake of Hong Kong employers everywhere.' Next week she will pay tribute to some of those friends at a banquet and karaoke party for 100 people to mark her 47th birthday. 'It's at the Academy of Dance, but don't tell anyone else. I don't want reporters there. Since I stopped ballet I'm a bit fat. So now I do Latin dancing.' At the start of the District Court hearing, there were only one or two reporters in the court. The following day the gallery was filled with journalists, many of whom sniggered quietly at the spectacle of the solicitor being humiliated by her former domestic helpers. 'I had to try to shield myself. It was very embarrassing,' said Chung, who holds the maids' solicitor, Matthew Gold of Pam Baker and Co, personally responsible for ensuring that the Chinese and English-language press covered every hilarious nuance of the case. 'Matthew Gold is a nut,' she declared. Several kilometres away in less salubrious offices in Mongkok, Gold grinned broadly and pondered the comment on his sanity. 'She said I was the nut?' said Gold, who instructed Peter Graham as the Legal Aid-funded barrister for the maids. 'That's surprising in light of the fact that the court found her to be outrageous and a liar. 'This is a case where domestic helpers, who are generally looked down upon in society, established they were right. 'They were telling the truth against a solicitor who used and mistreated them without any compunction whatsoever. 'It was a victory against the odds. She was prepared to perjure herself with a web of untruths she wove around herself and her witnesses.' Meanwhile, Amie Camacho, who is now living in a maids' shelter while awaiting full-time employment, cannot get Toreador's Song out of her mind. 'Vote for the Lady Lawyer Helen Chung,' she sang, giggling helplessly.